By Raiza Giorgi

High school sports will be doing a modified schedule and a delayed opening, the CIF State office announced July 20. Because of COVID-19, CIF officials have taken three seasons of sports and condensed it to two seasons of sports. Fall teams will start practicing in December and spring teams will start practicing in March.

“First I am happy we have dates to work with and a step in the right direction of getting sports to happen,” said Ashley Coelho, athletics director for Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District. “The county and state need to allow for it to happen. Official start and end dates are a hopeful sign, but scheduling will be a challenge for sure.” 

This is Coelho’s second year as athletic director for the district and said she was ready for a challenge, and this is definitely a challenge. 

Of the two schedules the spring season is looking more challenging to compile, as there are many kids who do two or more winter/spring sports. 

“Sharing gyms for volleyball or basketball won’t be a big issue, but I think water polo and swimming will,” Coelho said. “We will have to rotate and split everyone as evenly as possible, as I am already getting calls from parents whose kids do multiple sports.” 

The other challenge is coaching schedules as many coach two or three sports. 

“We will make the best of it, no perfect solution but to get through this year and get back to three seasons next year,” she added. 

The COVID situation put a damper on the end of last winter season and completely canceled spring. Coelho said her coaching staff has stepped up in ways she never dreamed they would, and is so proud of all her staff and players that are being good sports. 

“My coaches have been zooming with their athletes and checking on them,” she said. “They have also been giving them workouts at home and keeping track of mental health which is just as important right now.” 

Coelho said she had just completed a 30-page business proposal and submitted it to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department so they could operate as a “gym” and then the second round of shutdowns happened. 

“When we are given the green light again we are ready to go and will be as productive and creative as possible so these kids can get in a great workout and get back to a sense of unity and bonding which they desperately need,” Coelho said. 

The school gym has one-use towels, sanitation wipes for all equipment, hand sanitizers and a fogging machine to use after every day.

“If kids want to work out at home, I have equipment they can take with them and I will make sure they can get a good sweat,” Coelho said. 

In the state’s calendar, the fall season will be comprised of boys/girls cross country; field hockey; 11-man football; 8-man football; gymnastics; traditional competitive cheer; boys/girls volleyball; boys/girls water polo. 

For spring sports it will be badminton; baseball; boys/girls basketball; competitive cheer; boys/girls golf; boys/girls lacrosse; boys/girls soccer; softball; boys/girls swimming and diving; boys/girls tennis; boys/girls track and field and boys/girls wrestling. 

“We are continuously monitoring the directives and guidelines released from the Governor’s office, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health and local county health departments and agencies as these are followed by out member schools/districts with student health and safety at the forefront,” said CIF officials in their press release. 

This calendar change also has temporarily suspended Bylaws 600-605 (Outside Competition) in all sports for the 2020-21 school year. To see the bylaws visit